A motivated LeBron James and Dwyane Wade make for a tough duo to deal with but that will be the hand dealt the Indiana Pacers tonight when they take on the Miami Heat.
The Heat will be looking to bounce back from their only loss of the season when they dropped a home game to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday. The Hawks were lauded for their zone defense slowing down the Heat, but as Israel Gutierrez points out, the Hawks didn't play zone defense in the fourth quarter when they overcame a four-point deficit to win the game.
The bigger issues for the Heat are with their own defense.
For those who are concerned about the Heat's lack of interior defensive presence other than Joel Anthony, that worry likely grew Monday.
The Hawks converted on four shots within four feet in the fourth quarter, and the Heat defense was then so concerned with drives to the basket that it opened up the Hawks to hit five three-pointers in the period.
That is actually good news for the Pacers since they don't normally employ a zone defense while at the other end of the floor they have the front court players to attack the interior defense of the Heat. Hopefully Tyler Hansbrough is able to play through a hand injury suffered in New Jersey to maintain that attack mindset off the bench.
Of course, regardless of how well the Pacers execute their plan, there's still James and Wade to deal with so the Pacers playmakers have to be on point, as well. Seems strange to say, but Paul George may be the key. He needs to avoid early foul trouble which has hampered his game a couple of times so far to remain on the court to help matchup better at both ends of the floor.
Check out the links after the jump for more stories including a must-read story on David West's impact off the floor by Adrian Wojnarowski.
- Pacers look to cool off Heat after hot start | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Young Pacers look West for leadership - NBA - Yahoo! Sports - Wojnarowski
- Miami Heat, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh commentary from Ira Winderman - fox59.com
- Is a zone defense the Heat's kryptonite? - Heat Index Blog - ESPN
- Loss to Hawks exposes Miami Heat’s defensive woes - Miami Heat - MiamiHerald.com
- The Heat face the Pacers' formidable front - Heat Index Blog - ESPN
- How David West Is Changing the Pacers Culture | Eight Points, Nine Seconds
- Roy Hibbert lobbied hard for his "Parks and Recreation" cameo - Ball Don't Lie - NBA Blog - Yahoo! Sports
- Miami baker gets rejected after Heat star LeBron James' birthday cake not fit for 'The King' - NBA News | FOX Sports on MSN